Canada’s Women’s World Cup dream is over.
The hosts fell 2-1 to England in the quarterfinals on Saturday, sending the Three Lionesses to the World Cup semifinals for the first time in history. They will meet Japan at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on Wednesday.
In front of a raucous crowd of 54,027 at Vancouver’s BC Place, the Canadians put on plenty of early pressure, with a highlight-reel double-nutmeg from Christine Sinclair leading to a golden scoring opportunity for Melissa Tancredi. The veteran striker put her shot wide, which would prove costly soon thereafter.
An error by Canadian defender Lauren Sesselmann gave England’s Jodie Taylor a prime scoring chance that she coolly converted in the 11th minute (photo, right). Then, just three minutes later, English defender Lucy Bronze snuck a shot under Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod’s crossbar from a tight angle to put the visitors up 2-0.
Canada, fielding the same starting lineup that had gotten them a 1-0 win over Switzerland in the Round of 16, responded with wave after wave of attacking pressure. Their reward came just before halftime, when English goalkeeper Karen Bardsley spilled a cross by Ashley Lawrence, allowing Sinclair to pounce on the rebound.
Canada appeared to have some luck go its way when Bardsley was forced out of the game in the 52nd minute due to an eye injury. But the hosts couldn’t replicate their dangerous form from the opening 45 minutes, as England hunkered down to protect what would go on to be a famous victory for their side.
Diana Matheson, the hero of Canada’s bronze-medal win at the 2012 London Olympics, came on as a second-half substitute, playing her first game for Canada since tearing her ACL last October. But it wasn’t enough for the Canadians, who had come into the game with an undefeated record in the tournament, having allowed only one goal in four previous games.